On Wednesday, bipartisan Senate negotiators reached an agreement after weeks of exciting debate on the infrastructure package. The package includes billions of new funding, including more money to connect every household to high-speed broadband, according to the White House.
The Senate infrastructure package is expected to be about $ 1.2 trillion over the next eight years and about $ 559 billion in new spending. The White House on Wednesday sent out a press release outlining the content of the bill, focusing on tough infrastructure issues such as roads, bridges, electric car charging, public transport and high-speed broadband. In particular, the package includes a $ 65 billion investment to ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet, according to the White House.
Telecommunications companies that have received this funding must offer consumers “cheap and affordable” Internet plans as well as easy ways to compare service providers. Still, the bill text is still unwritten, and it is unclear how the new broadband investment will be delegated.
The $ 65 billion figure is significantly lower than what President Joe Biden originally proposed last March. The original goal of the administration was $ 100 billion in broadband spending and Include a language that would be prioritize networks affiliated with local governments, non-profit organizations and cooperatives.
The White House also announced Wednesday that the package would include the language of digital capital law, which would create a permanent program to support low-wage families ’broadband costs, as well as a new program to help pay for devices such as laptops and tablets.
When the Senate begins voting on this package today, the agency responsible for broadband expansion, the Federal Communications Commission, will still be without a permanent director. Earlier this year, former FCC chairman Ajit Pai stepped downleaving the agency deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats. Biden has not yet appointed a Fifth Commissioner or formally appointed a Permanent Chair.